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Sailing Lore: What is Grog


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From my understanding this is what the origin of Grog is. When sailors took long voyages, they had to bring barrels of fresh water with them. Unfortunately, over time, algae would grow in the barrels, making the water slimy and bitter to the taste. Thus they began adding alcohol to their drinks to mask this flavor and they discovered the alcohol would prevent the algae from growing. Thus grog was water mixed with alcohol, typically rum, and often with some citrus for flavoring. That's also where the term "limey" comes from, from the sailors who used limes to flavor their grog.

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It seems that rum with water, sugar and nutmeg (known as bumboo), was also popular among pirates and merchantmen.

 

Bytheway, there is a modern version of a grog that I have tried at the "City Tavern" in Philadelphia - this was a few years back when I traveled through there.

 

Here's their "Supreme Bean Grog" recipe:

 

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

4 tbs. butter

4 c. packed brown sugar

2 c. light rum

1 c. half & half

4 c. Ellis Dock Street coffee

(Optional - grated orange zest for garnish)

 
  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl and mix well.

  2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter until softened and add sugar slowly until well blended.

  3. Add the spices and mix well.

  4. Place 1 tbs. of the spice base into each of 8 cups or mugs.

  5. Pour 3 tbs. of light rum and 2 tbs. of half & half into each cup.

  6. Fill each cup with hot coffee and sprinkle the top with orange zest.

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